Report: Bristol Flyers 95-82 Leicester Riders
Friday, January 10th 2020
Bristol Flyers picked up a resounding win against Leicester Riders to advance to the BBL Trophy Quarter-Final.
The historic win sees the club shake-off a run of 17 straight defeats to the Riders, dating back to 2014.
Gentrey Thomas led all scorers with 30 points, whilst Fred Thomas poured in 27 of his own, with Raphell Thomas-Edwards finishing with a near double-double of 16 points and nine rebounds.
Flyers will face London City Royals away from home in the last eight, with fixture details to be confirmed as soon as possible.
Flyers showed that they were ready to play with high intensity, grabbing a pair of offensive rebounds out the gate before Gentrey Thomas found Fred Thomas on the perimeter for a three. Riders looked to their centre Darien Nelson-Henry for inside scoring in response.
Riders pulled ahead as Jamell Anderson hit a three and a well executed set found Nelson-Henry open under the basket. Gentrey Thomas used his lightning first step to blow past the Riders defence for an easy score. Having got to the basket once he kept going back for more, completing tough finishes or earning trips to the free throw line. The explosive scoring saw Flyers extend an early lead. With the basket dialled in Gentrey Thomas finished the quarter with a deep three to amass 18 points in the opening 10 minutes. The basket gave Flyers a 29-18 lead at the end of the first.
Riders battled back in the second, again looking to Nelson-Henry in the paint for easy scores. A 6-0 run had the Flyers lead looking more fragile, but Thomas-Edwards took charge. He muscled his way to the free-throw line showing his shooting touch to convert both foul shots and then splashed a three-pointer.
Another Riders run saw them narrow the gap to one point to force a Flyers timeout. The Bristol players showed composure and responded well with Levi Bradley using a low post move to draw a foul and Chris Taylor feeding Fred Thomas for another three-pointer. A last second score from Kyron Cartwright closed the gap 47-43 at half-time.
A tight third quarter kept the Flyers Family on the edge of their seats, as Riders came out firing with the pairing of Cartwright and Nelson-Henry leading the way. The duo connected on successive possessions and a Carthwright three-pointer gave Riders their biggest lead of the game at seven points.
Flyers were again able to show composure to stay in the game. Fred Thomas connected from mid-range and Gentrey Thomas finished a high-arcing runner, completing the three point play at the line to tie the game up at 56.
With the Leicester in foul trouble, Flyers did their damage at the foul line late in the quarter. Bradley was pushed on a sweeping hook shot late in the shot clock and frustration boiled over for Coach Paternostro who was charged with a technical foul. The strong foul shooting put Flyers up 70-66 at the end of the third quarter.
Fred Thomas took control of the game early in the fourth. The Flyers veteran did everything his team needed from spotting up for a three-pointer, soaring across the lane to finish a tough lay-up, to making a steal and then finishing a transition three-pointer off a well-timed pass from Taylor to force an early Riders timeout. The break in play did nothing to cool off his shooting as he hit another three-pointer on the next offence.
A huge corner three-pointer from Thomas-Edwards restored a double digit lead for Flyers. Coach Paternostro took another timeout in an effort to find a way back into the game.
Gentrey Thomas made sure the game stayed out of reach with another three-pointer. Flyers used the clock to their advantage and Riders resorted to fouling for possession. Delpeche and Champion finished the game at the foul line.